With a recently-concluded World Championship match coronation of Magnus Carlsen, the other elite players will be pawning off in London, England for the last leg of the Grand Chess Tour beginning today, December 9th. The field will feature staple players in these elite events and mostly likely the next contender to challenge Carlsen in 2018.
In fact, the Grand Chess Tour features the same nine players plus a wildcard selection which in this case is England’s #1 player, Michael Adams. The “Sofia Rules” will be enforced such that no draws will occur in the first 40 moves. The tournament will adopt the football scoring of three points for a win and one point for a draw.
Wesley So giving victory speech at 206 Sinquefield Cup.
Photo by Lennart Ootes
Carlsen dropped out of the event earlier this year to focus on the match. The top seed in this event will be Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2813) followed by Fabiano Caruana (2808) and Vladimir Kramnik (2808). So was a new addition to the tour this year after being a wild card at the Sinquefield last year. He won the Sinquefield event in August. Surprisingly Wesley So is leading the Grand Chess Tour by a whopping 8.25 points.
The field is as follows…
In what may be a preview of the Candidates tournaments next year, there are no new faces, but players such as Ding Liren and Wei Yi may be waiting for their turns in years to come. The larger question seems to be whether the Grand Chess Tour is a viable model.
When Norway pulled out of the tour, two rapid events were added in Paris, France and Brussels, Belgium. So far, the London Classic has been wildly successful with IM Malcolm Pein using the tournament as a platform for his Chess in Schools and Communities initiative. Carlsen will not be participating in the tournament, but there will be a screening of a biographical movie named, “Magnus.”
Along with the 8th London Chess Classic, Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) has announced additional events. The British Knockout Championship semi-finals will feature four of Britain’s top players in a format that is certain to bring excitement at the Conference Centre in Kensington, London. There is the 4th Pro-Biz Cup designed to involved the business community with chess promotion and charity.
There is also a London Chess Conference and the FIDE Open event (December 9th-16th), a 9-round Swiss format with a £20,000 prize fund and possible norm opportunities. The Super Rapidplay Open will return on 17th-18th December and will be a 10-round FIDE rated open with all players playing in the same section and competing for section prizes.
December 9-18, 2016 (London, England)
Video by CCSCSL.
Official Site: https://www.grandchesstour.com (live games)
Live Coverage: https://live.londonchessclassic.com/grand-chess-tour-2016.php
Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2016/12/09/2016-london-chess-classic-london-england/